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“As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.”

Family: A Ministry of Love

  • The church has a deeply rooted belief in family
  • In family, Jesus learned of his faith, his traditions, his role as son and his obligation to respect and love his parents

Familiaris Consortio

Four general tasks of the family were discussed at the 1980 Synod of Bishops, and then articulated by Pope John Paul II in this 1981 Apostolic Exhortation. The four general tasks of the family that were identified are as follows:

  • to form a community of persons;
  • to serve life;
  • to participate in society’s development;
  • to share in the life and mission of the Church
A birds eye view of a group of children laying down on the grass, smiling and pointing at the camera.

Amoris Laetitia

After the 2015 Synod on the Family. Pope Francis released his Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia. In the document many ideas around parenting are shared. Below are a few of those we have highlighted:

  • Children are a gift from God, even when they are unexpected or unwanted. (¶166, 170)
  • Be joyful when expecting. Expectant parents shouldn’t let fear, worries, or apprehensions take their happiness away during this special time. (¶171)
  • Adoption and foster care are acts of love that should be supported. (¶178-181)
  • Children deserve both a father and mother, and the unique gifts that they bring. (¶172-177)

Chapter Seven is almost exclusively addressed to parents where Pope Francis reminds us that:

  • Parents have the most influence. “For better or for worse,” parents are the ones who influence and educate their children. (¶259)
  • It is their right and duty to educate their children. It’s not just a task that can be delegated. (¶84)
  • We shouldn’t try to replace them, but there is a gap between families and educators. (¶84-85)
  • The Church needs to work with parents. (¶85)

Pope Francis goes on to say that:

Close up on a baby being baptized

Parents need to teach their children how to:

  • Do the right thing: ethics and morality. (¶263-265)
  • Use self-control and embrace hope. “One of the most important tasks of families is to provide an education in hope.” This means helping children avoid instant gratification, always-on culture, and stress. (¶275)
  • Live in community. They need to learn to help and care for each other within the family, neighborhood, and world. (¶276)
  • Care for our common home. This includes limiting how much we consume, protecting the environment, and being mindful about those who have less. (¶275)
  • Express love & sexuality positively, based in a deep self-giving love and joy, while rejecting objectification and what trivializes true commitment. (¶280-284)
  • Pass on their faith: what it means to be Catholic, and an experience of living it out. (¶287-290)

Pope Francis also offers tips on how to form children, but first describes some approaches that don’t work well:

  • Obsession and control. When we try to control all their movements and actions, this does not help them learn responsibility and grow in autonomy. (¶261)
  • Being hands-off. That does not mean we let them do whatever they want or ignore bad influences. We need to be vigilant in supporting and guiding them. (¶260)

Then Pope Francis reminds parents that they are meant to accompany children in the following positive ways:

  • Journey with them. We need to walk alongside children on their journey, educating and preparing them for the struggles of real life. This means talking to them about their convictions, desires, and dreams. Have conversations instead of imposing strict rules (¶261, 264)
  • Give them virtues and good habits. These will make up their toolbox for the challenges they will face. They need to learn how to discern right from wrong, but also how to follow through. (¶264-267)
  • Teach consequences. Children need to realize the effects of their actions on others, and learn to apologize. Discipline can be helpful, but it has to be appropriate. (¶268-270)
  • Be patient and realistic. Children are taught through small steps, and demanding too much too early is not helpful. (¶271-273)
  • Be a good model. Children are grounded in knowing that they can trust you, that you care about them as a person, and that they love you. They also will learn more from your example than your words. (¶263-264)

And finally he reminds all parents and grandparents of the importance of passing on the faith:

  • Home is where it’s at. Parents are the main ones who influence whether their children will grow up Catholic. But families are busy and need help. (¶278, 287-290)
  • Parents must have faith to pass it on. If parents don’t have a relationship with God and an understanding of their faith, how can they pass it on to their children? (¶287)
  • Parishes should form families together. Family catechesis is “of great assistance” in helping parents with their mission. (¶85, 287)
  • Fresh ways of learning. Children learn well from symbols, actions, stories, experiences, and following their parents’ example. (¶288)


A Hand holding a paper heart over a cross printed on paper

For further information see the Vatican’s page on Familaris Consortio, on Amoris Laetitia (Amoris laetitia: Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on love in the family (19 March 2016) | Francis (, or read one of the other Church documents on the family, please go to the Vatican homepage.

The family is considered the Domestic Church – it has a role and purpose. Society is built on the foundation of strong families and, while the job is challenging, nothing matters more to the future of our children, family and the faith than parents fully seeing the powerful role they fulfill.

Positive Qualities of Strong Families

There are six major qualities that are evident in strong families. The first is commitment to the family, which exemplifies how each person cares for the others and seeks unity amongst all. Secondly, the expression of appreciation is crucial in relationships for connecting and increasing a sense of self-worth. Third is positive communication skills which are indicated by the type of conversations, the amount of time spent listening and speaking and the ability to freely express feelings and thoughts without bringing hurt to the other family members. The fourth is time together, which is decreasing in today’s busy society. The fifth is commitment to living a spiritual life-style that honours God as a foundational aspect of a Catholic family and involves all areas of life. Lastly is the ability to correctly cope with stress and crises. Developing strategies to manage stress effectively, as well as committing to achieving behaviour changes, will help families improve their emotional health and relationships.


Teresa Hartnett


905-528-7988 Ext. 2250
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Sarah Lintott

Office Administrator

905-528-7988 Ext. 2249
Send Email